Nutrition Essentials– The Basics

Posted: 20th July 2009 by SGT Peterson in Diet and Nutrition

Let me be candid with you, getting into shape may be simple, but as many of you know, it’s not always easy. HERE’S AN IMPORTANT TIP: Along with exercise the most important thing  for getting permanent results is SETTING A PERMANENTLY HEALTHY DIET. Think it’s impossible? It’s not really that bad, I promise, but I can’t tell you how many clients I have trained that put hours of hard work in at the gym each week only to never see any results because they’re stuffing their faces with twinkies as soon as they get home. If this sounds like you, stop, immediately. Here are some dieting essentials to help you get started.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for a near 17.5 million deaths per year but with adequate exercise and dieting practices this problem can be eliminated for 80% of people. To begin, imagine all the disgusting junk foods you know you shouldn’t be eating… pop, the common potato chip, and all those high sugar sweets like donuts, cakes, or candy. Here is a list of some healthy alternatives  that you can add to your daily dieting routine. Foods such as, apples, avocados, bananas, beans, extra virgin olive oil, green tea, leafy greens, oats, potatoes, wall nuts, tomatoes , whole grains and Brussels sprouts all have nutritional value. Adding these foods to your diet and substituting them for their unhealthy counterparts will contribute to your ultimate goal of getting into better physical shape. Concentrate on your day to day diet, design a dieting plan and stick with it.

How do I design a diet you ask? I’ll write a future post in more detail, but basically track what you eat in a week– keep a journal of all the calories you consume per day– types of food, then you estimate your normal caloric loss per day. For men it is generally above 2,000 calories per day, and if you exercise it can be upwards of 3,000 calories per day. What you want  to do to lose weight SAFELY is to eat only about 5-10% fewer than the calories you are able to burn. Those are the basics!

Ok, here’s where we start hitting some serious dieting essentials. If you’re starving yourself to get thin– stop immediately and get something to eat. Your endocrine system has a built in response that conserves more energy as FAT when you go into starvation mode. This means if you’re starving yourself, you’ll gain the weight back plus some once you start eating reasonably again– not to mention it’s not a lot of fun to starve yourself to death. In contrast, healthy dieting is focusing on five healthy meals a day as opposed to eating just three standard meals or even two meals. The objective of eating three meals with one or two snacks in between is keeping your body’s metabolism high. The difference between five healthy and portioned meals a day and three larger meals a day is that our bodies don’t experience highs a lows but rather a steady metabolism throughout the day. Think of your body as  a furnace, in order to keep the fire going (or your metabolism), you need to give it fuel– the less fuel you give it, the less capable it is of burning off the food you eat.

When eating three meals a day, our metabolism drops between meal times as a result of the larger waiting time. As many of us have experienced we tend to become easily agitated, less motivated and experience higher levels of stress during these periods of time. As a result we become more prone to grab something fast and efficient to eat rather than something healthy. We can eliminate these sudden urges throughout the day by planning our meals and ensuring that we are eating healthy. While helping to eliminate unhealthy dieting practices, this dieting discipline will also promote higher levels of motivation and better attitudes throughout the day.

Again, I can’t hammer this in enough, stick to your routine… skipping meals doesn’t help anyone. Many people tend to believe by eliminating meals at different times during the week such as breakfast, it will help them lose weight. Although you’re eliminating calories you’re also depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to function effectively and healthy during the day. Skipping meals during the day lowers our metabolism and often leads to eating larger portions later in the day.

Good luck guys– if you have any tips or foods you want to recommend to people, feel free to put them in the comments.

Nieburg, N. (2009, February). feed your heart. Vegetarian Times, Retrieved May 28, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.

 “Boosting Metabolism with Diet and Nutrition.” Nutrition Advice by Registered Dietitians – 31 May 2009 <>.